As we bring something new and special to our visitors, here we came across the cleft lip look of the Dileep from his upcoming movie "Sound Thoma". English soprano Sophie Bevan is indisposed this evening and has had to withdraw from tonight's performance of Oedipe. The role of Antigone will now be sung by Australian soprano Lauren Fagan, who will also sing the role of Theban woman. The Danish bass-baritone stars alongside British bass John Tomlinson in Alex Olle and Valentina Carrasco's new staging.
The Romanian composer based his first and only operatic work on the story of Oedipus, the tragic figure in Greek mythology who fulfills the prophecy of destroying his own entire family. Both singers discuss the composer's distinctive style: a result of his incorporating the influences of his contemporaries to create his own sound. The production is a co-production of La Monnaie, Brussels and Opera National de Paris, and is generously supported by the Monument Trust, Richard and Ginny Salter, The Romanian Cultural Institute and The Friends of Covent Garden. The production is a co-commission with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, is produced in association with Lyric Hammersmith and is given with generous philanthropic support from the RVW Trust. It is perhaps surprising that Sarah Kane’s last play 4.48 Psychosis has never before been produced as a piece of music theatre.
However, it is Kane’s careful orchestration of an affective spectatorship that forges the play’s strongest links with music. There are opaque and highly poetic sections, real or imagined dialogues between unknown interlocutors, number sequences, Biblical passages. This vision is materialized in Venables’s opera, which presents a character that is collectively embodied by every performer onstage. The production is a co-commission with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, is produced in association with Lyric Hammersmith and is given with generous philanthropic support from the RVW Trust. Well Enescu is amazing, the show is fabulous, and I shall most definitely be seeing it again. Supreme singing & playing in #ROHoedipe - really brings home what a riveting, vital score this is. The production is a co-production of La Monnaie, Brussels, and Opera National de Paris, and is generously supported by the Monument Trust, Richard and Ginny Salter, the Romanian Cultural Institute and the Friends of Covent Garden. Perhaps because of this, his masterpiece is a patchwork of shifting voices, as Enescu masterfully interprets very different musical ideas through his own distinctive lens.
Oedipe’s encounter with the Sphinx is the last in a series of events in Act II in which Enescu and his librettist Edmond Fleg show their hero taking the steps that bring about his own terrible fate. The appearance of the Sphinx is the climax of Act II and in many ways the centrepiece of the opera.
The Sphinx exerts her terror by setting everyone who passes by her a riddle they cannot solve. Oedipe determines to save the city and through agitated music wakes the Sphinx, to the horror of the Watcher. It is one of the paradoxes or disappointments of operatic fashion that while a handful of works recognized as undeniably great become rapidly established as household names, numerous operas of real stature languish virtually unnoticed for many years after their birth.
From the start of Enescu’s career – to his frustration – he was known primarily as a performer.
At the age of five, the prodigiously talented Enescu had become a student in Ia?i, capital of Moldavia. Enescu’s early years in Vienna proved essential in establishing him as at least potentially a composer, and as a virtuoso pianist and violinist. Paris was a centrepiece of composing talent, and Enescu knew all, befriended most and was admired in return. This is an edited extract from Roderic Dunnett’s article ‘George Enescu, Musical Polymath’, available to read in full in The Royal Opera’s programme book for Oedipe.
The production is a co-production of La Monnaie, Brussels, and Opera National de Paris, and is generously supported by the Monument Trust, Richard and Ginny Salter, The Romanian Cultural Institute and The Friends of Covent Garden. Verdi was inspired by the wild passions of his four principal characters to write some of his greatest arias. Director David Bosch emphasizes the conflict between two worlds: the fragile, poetic world of the gypsies (with its fascination with the supernatural) and the brutal military world of Count di Luna.
The staging is a co-production with Frankfurt Opera and is staged with generous philanthropic support from the Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.
4.48 Psychosis is the third opera by British composer Venables, following his ‘anti-opera’ Unleashed, based on recordings of gay men describing sexual encounters, and the ongoing chamber opera project The Schmurz. Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis was completed shortly before the playwright took her life, and since its premiere has been considered the equivalent of a suicide note.


Kane’s plays are powerful theatre works, but they also have extraordinary potency when read. Venables is the first person to hold the post of Doctoral Composer-in-Residence at The Royal Opera and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the first position of its kind specifically to support composers of opera. The awards were held at the Savoy Hotel in London on 15 May 2016 and were hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenter Petroc Trelawny. Gianandrea Noseda, who conducts upcoming performances of The Royal Opera's Il trovatore, won the award for Best Conductor. Kunde performed live at the event, as did soprano Ermonela Jaho, who collected The Readers' Award – the only award voted for by the public. Vysakh directing this malayalam film has been produced under the banner of Priyanjali Films by Anoop. Shirley & Company’s 1970s disco hit haunts the line ‘shame shame shame’, but the bouncy vivaciousness of the original is missing. The text does away with many conventions of dramatic playwriting: it does not offer a list of characters, it does not assign lines to a specific number of speakers, it does not allow a clear plot to unfold.
This 2003 recording is just over five minutes long, but the self-effacing and obsessive energy of Kane’s original text is intensely present. Instead of proposing a solitary voice, Venables astutely picks up on the polyphony in Kane’s writing, and builds a full-length performance for an ensemble of six voices and twelve players. A memorable production with striking images, and a writhing, exotic score superbly sung by principals and chorus alike. He was a consummate musician – a violinist, conductor and teacher who both championed and interpreted the music of his contemporaries. From this rich fabric Enescu’s writing for the Sphinx emerges as the strangest and most unsettling music in the opera. When they fail to answer, she devours them, and leaves their blanched bones lying about her. A monstrous crescendo marks its awakening but once she begins to sing her music is soft, slow and sleepy – wrapped in the sinuous, feline lines that characterize all her music. Alongside Kreisler, Ysaye and the later Oistrakh (all of whom were his colleagues and friends), he was one of the great violinists of all time. Both his parents were musical, and from his youngest days he was conscious both of the music of the Romanian Orthodox church and, more importantly, of the tradition of folk musicians (lautari). Some of the most pathos-ridden passages in Oedipe, especially the Shepherd’s pipe music, rely on this folk tradition.
The young Enescu was already interested in composition, and wrote a piece he called Opera for violin and piano – he was already thinking dramatically. Following his graduation with honours in 1894, he progressed to Paris, to study with Massenet, Faure and others. Enescu wrote that ‘I was most delighted that in America I was received as a composer and conductor, and only secondarily as a violinist.
The gypsy Azucena has vowed to avenge the murder of her mother at the hands of the aristocratic Luna family, and so has abducted their younger son. According to some sources he saw Il trovatore as a spiritual sequel, this time with a female protagonist trapped between love for her child and urgent desire for vengeance. His score includes dramatic narratives, reflective arias, impassioned duets and fiery choruses – including the famous Anvil Chorus using industrial tools as percussion. The military setting complements the personal war between Manrico and the Count, rivals in love. The five plays she wrote in her short life are remarkable works that challenge and transform the ideas of what theatre can be. But text plays an integral part in many of his compositions, from The Revenge of Miguel Cotto, a collaboration with poet S.J. This has played into Venables’s longstanding interest in the interplay of written, sung and spoken text.
The studentship offers one composer every two years the opportunity to research and write a large-scale work, mentored by senior figures from each organization. American tenor Gregory Kunde, who will sing the role of Manrico in David Bosch’s new production, was named Best Male Singer. Like how you can't be sure about weather forecast, in the same way you can't say, before the release of the film, if it's a hit or a flop.
Along with Dileep, there are Namitha Pramod, Mukesh, Sai Kumar, Nedumudi Venu and others include the cast. Kane’s writing is composed of an assemblage of materials that frustrate any rational or complete interpretation. Like a musical piece, the text of 4.48 Psychosis invites us not to understand the external reality of its speakers, but to feel the pulse of images, timbres, rhythms, patterns.


Here, vocalist Stuart Staples delivers a selection of lines extracted from the play with fragile detachment; his ragged voice is almost buried under increasingly dense layers of guitar and violin.
On the page, 4.48 Psychosis resists the notion that each of us is a clearly distinct and autonomous being. Enescu accordingly creates an otherworldly soundscape, a malicious aura around the Sphinx in which the opera’s previous musical structures seem to warp and unravel. He was also a pianist of distinction, a second violin and viola player in chamber music and a sometime cellist. It was to Romania’s north east that Enescu returned time and again to recharge his batteries and draw inspiration as a composer. The opera joins the story years later, when Azucena’s foster-son Manrico and the military commander Count di Luna have become rivals in love for Leonora.
Work on Il trovatore took time (Verdi’s librettist Salvadore Cammarano died in 1852, and Leon Emanuele Bardare was brought in to complete the text) but the opera finally had a successful premiere on 19 January 1853 at the Apollo Theatre in Rome. It uses traditional operatic conventions but also subverts them, and demonstrates from start to finish an immense musical energy, reflecting the inexorable process of this drama of vengeance. Imagery of snow and fire unites the two very different worlds, and reflects the vividly drawn passions of the leading characters. Controversial at their premieres, her plays are now celebrated as linchpins of British theatre, praised not only for the innovations they make but also for Kane’s unflinching exploration of depression and for her vibrant, beautiful language. Fowler commissioned by London Sinfonietta, to his settings of poetry by Simon Howard in numbers 76–80 : tristan und isolde and numbers 91–95, and by Sean Bonney in Socialist Realism. The play has no character list, no speech cues and minimal stage directions; this built-in directorial freedom ensures no two productions of the work can be the same. The final result of the movie's success or its failure arrives only after the first week of the release.
Finally, he comes to the gates of Thebes – his birthplace – and meets the Sphinx, a monster that has been ravaging the city. Enescu’s monster is nightmarish, her music bewildering and malign, and her death shrouded in ambiguity.
He begs the wandering Oedipe to stop his sorrowful song, terrified that he will wake the Sphinx. Enescu gradually expands the music with exquisite control, as the Sphinx anticipates her conquest of Oedipe – ‘of all my victims, you will be the most beautiful’ – and exults in the power of destiny over both man and gods. Her death cries are the balance of her monstrous awakening, slowly receding into silence; her final upwards glissando into death is continued in the unearthly sound of a musical saw.
In conducting, he played a major role importing French music by his fellow students and his contemporaries to America.
Azucena has a secret that affects both men: will she tell it, or will she see her revenge through at any cost? Kane was insistent that her plays belonged in the theatre, and adaptations of her writing for other art forms are rare.
These and other works also share a common thread in Venables’s fascination with violence – its allure, its power and its consequences. Kane’s text sometimes suggests a dialogue, sometimes intense soliloquy, frequently blossoming into passages of painful beauty; and, as with all her works, combines an upsetting and uncomfortable exploration of the human condition with sharp flashes of pitch-black humour.
It is rather that the text has been shaped by the insight that our sense of self is composed of our relationships with others, that there are traces of them within us – even when they are gone or pushed away.
He will destroy the Sphinx, and in thanks the city will name him king and give him the hand of his mother, Jocaste, in marriage. As he points her out to Oedipe we hear fleeting rasps in the violins, flashes of horror against the slumberous sounds of murmuring woodwind.
It is the perfect musical setting of her final words – ‘Only the future will tell you if the dying Sphinx is weeping at her defeat or laughing at her victory’ – words which haunt Oedipe through the celebratory coronation that follows. Philip Venables’s operatic adaptation of 4.48 Psychosis, Kane’s final play, is the first of its kind. For Venables, ‘it’s not about blood and guts – it’s about that huge conflict of wanting love and wanting happiness and not being able to find it’. We’re trying to re-create a kind of polyphony of inner voices – all those voices in your head.’ Venables uses his cast of six singers and 12 musicians to create new contexts for Kane’s text.



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